Behind this smile…
…is a whole lot of all the things.
After I had the twins, my smile changed. I felt fuller, happier, balanced, and complete because of the girls, and I really tried to show it. But on the inside, I was struggling with something I didn’t know how to handle. I still struggle with it, admittedly.
I have a condition most partpartum moms wouldn’t talk about, postpartum anxiety. As a psychology major in college, I understood this could happen, but I didn’t figure it would happen to me.
Until that one day at the end of April or early May (the days blur together) when my world felt like it crashed. After I had spent the night staring at the baby monitor, thinking I kept hearing the babies cry and then spent 20 minutes arranging the vue cups and making myself a 2nd coffee because I didn’t have the right balance of something in the first one, I found myself in our bathroom crying because I only had one kotex left in a pack and oh my gawd it couldn’t be in there all alone because oh my gawd and then I flew off the handle to something Greg said and went batpoop crazy. And that is when I knew something wasn’t right. Luckily for me, we were headed to the doctor’s anyways. I went in by myself and talked about what I was feeling, how I didn’t have thoughts of hurting myself or the girls but something wasn’t right. And this feeling wasn’t just that day, but had been happening since…well..since we left the hospital.
I was anxious about all the things, especially those out of my control. I always had to be doing something, and I was getting exhausted. I’d go to the girls’ room and be sure they were breathing then over to the kids’ room and be sure they were in there and then back to the girls. Being a new mom, I was extremely exhausted by couldn’t sleep because I was so exhausted. I was wondering what on earth my family would do without me, if my incision started bleeding uncontrollably and never healed. I wanted Greg to stop going to work, to not leave me alone because there was no way I could do this thing called motherhood because I wasn’t good enough. It was, and still is, an extremely fearful time.
Although my doctor gave me medicine and I am back to work, there are still a few things about my life that rustle up the anxiety / OCD feelings. While I have enjoyed having Greg’s parents here to spend time with us, it’s also put me out of my element. On top of that, I went back to work and have a good amount of time to think in the car each day. I keep thinking I am not good enough at what I do, and that’s why I needed them to come up. But then I get home and something is out of place and my mind starts racing. My mind is racing writing this post, in fact, because before I started to write it, there was an incident with apple juice and I didn’t get to steam mop the entire pantry and kitchen and I should have. I’m stressing because not only have I not dropped the baby weight, I am packing it on because my stress is making me want all the ice cream and my mind tells me this is right and ok.
But it’s my right and ok right now. I know these feelings will go away once I find me again. I’m still in here, and you can see that in my smile. It’s not a race to get back to myself. I don’t need to prove anything – I am strong even when I think I am weak. I’ve done nothing wrong, and it’s ok to be open about this and to ask for help. There’s no perfection in this life and I don’t have to keep up with other moms or other women. I just have to love myself first, my babies second, and all the rest will fall into place.
If you’ve struggled with or are struggling with a postpartum need, Postpartum Progress has some options for you here: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/ppd-support-groups-in-the-u-s-canada. This post is not sponsored by them, I just found their material helpful in my journey to wellness so far.